Saturday, July 29, 2017

Barcelona to Bilbao

I'm on my 10th day of travelling around Europe, and today I will take a break before continuing my trip the day after. 
 After experiencing many rainy days during this trip, it's nice to visit a sunny beach. I'm staying in Catalonia, here is a beach near Arenys de Mar.

I'm halfway on my trip around Europe, so I'm now at the most southern point during this trip.
 The day after my beach break, I'm continuing my journey to Bilbao. The train from Barcelona leaves at 7:30 from Barcelona, and since I'm a bit outside the town, I have wake up very early to catch the train.
First I'm taking Rodalies de Catalunya local train to Barcelona Sants station.
Not much people this time of the day. Inside a Civia train.
Worth to mention is that when buying a long distance ticket at Renfe, there is a free of charge ticket for Cercanias (commuter trains) both before and after the long distance trip. This service is called CombinadoCercanias, and the free ticket can be collected at the ticket machine using the CombinadoCercanias code.
The reason to buy tickets at Renfe instead of using Interrail is that there are extremely expensive seat reservations, which cannot be purchased online (except for Interrail service with additional fee). A seat reservation for Alvia train can cost 6.5EUR for 2nd and 23.5EUR for 1st class.

Barcelona Sants station.
Long distance train stations in large cities in Spain have security checks similar to the airports. It's neither possible to visit the platform without a ticket.
An even earlier train is this Renfe-SNCF service to Lyon, departing at 7:20
It's probably same train I came with from Lyon two days ago - Renfe Class S-100
Renfe Class 120 Alvia train manufactured by CAF and in service since 2006

Two Class 120 trains are coupled with destination Bilbao (train number 10) and Irun (train number 07). This train has Brava variable boogies allowing the train to use both standard and Iberian gauge.
Inside 1st class coach, or "Preferente" as it is called in Spain. Note that all seats are always facing the direction of the train, which is typical in Spain, but not elsewhere in Europe. The bad thing with this train is the lack of power outlets at each seat, this is a bit strange considering that the train is used for long distance services.
Leaving Barcelona

Class 447 Cercanias
Our train is taking first standard gauge high speed line Madrid-Barcelona until Zaragosa
The train is reaching its maximum speed here

Camp de Tarragona

Here is a map of all high speed trains in Spain.
Passing by Puigverd-Artesa station long the Iberian gauge railway 230 Tarragona-Reus-Lleida
Taking off from the AVE line to Lleida. To the left is a railway bypass ofe Lleida.
La Seu Vella
Lleida Pirineus station

AVE S-100 train from Calatayud to Barcelona

Veloz means fast in Spanish.

Zaragoza-Delicias station

Shortly after departing Zaragoza we are approaching gauge width changer facility
3 rails supporting both 1668mm and 1435mm widths
The process is rather quick

AVE S-103 train
Our has now switched to Iberian gauge railway nr 700 Casetas-Bilbao
Renfe Series 440R

Since it is not high speed railway, the speed has decreased from 250km/h to 150km/h
Cabañas de Ebro
Speed limits
Cortes de Navarra
Tudela de Navarra
Padre Baztan Park
Castejón de Ebro
Here the two trains are separated
Renfe Class 443, identical to Italian ETR 401 "Pendolino" train from 1976
The story was short for this type of train in Spain, as Renfe decided to use Talgo trains instead of Pendolino.

Railway yard in Castejon seems to be popular among storks


Passing by the town of Rincón de Soto

Catedral de Santa María in Calahorra
Another Renfe Class 120

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora La Blanca in Agoncillo
One of the major towns along the way is Logroño
Alvia train has a bar coach with drinks and snacks

San Vicente de la Sonsierra

Structure from the old railway between Haro and Ezcaray
Triangular junction near Miranda de Ebro
Ebro river, the 2nd longest in Iberian peninsula
Renfe Class 253 (TRAXX F140 DC)
Miranda de Ebro is an important junction station, where railway between Castejon-Bilbao and Madrid-Irun meets.
The line between Madrid and Irun opened in 1864

The last part of my trip will be from Miranda to Bilbao
Renfe Class 252 and 253. Class 252 exists both for standard and Iberian gauge version.
Renfe Class 321 from 1965 and Renfe Series 440R EMU
Shortly after leaving Miranda, the train enters Basque country, here is the bridge of road E-804 from Zaragoza to Bilbao.
The trip takes 6h 34min, and since I started my day around 6 in the morning, I decided to take a nap...
After having slept for about 1h, I'm waking up near Bilbao.
Bilbao Abando or Estación de Abando Indalecio Prieto is the main Renfe station. There are other stations in the centre serving other train systems, like FEVE and Euskotren.

The station is a terminus and it was built in 1948.

The station serves both long distance and commuter services around Bilbao
Renfe Class 447 "Cercanias"

The station was designed by Alfonso Fungairiño

Bilbao is a very nice town, with much less tourists than Barcelona

Bilbao Puppy - Flower Statue

One of the most famous buildings in Bilbao is Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry. The museum opened in 1997

Inside the museum

Nervión river

Fishes in the river

Euskotren Tranbia opened in 2002 and operated with CAF Urbos trams.
Plaza del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

It's a warm day
Entrance to Bilbao Metro which opened in 1995
Despite being the 10th largest town in Spain, Bilbao has 3rd largest metro networks after Madrid and Barcelona.
UT500 train manufactured by CAF
Plaza Moyua

Bizkaia Delegation Palace
Main street is Gran Vía de Don Diego López de Haro named after the founder of the city.
Parroquia de "San Vicente Mártir de Abando"

Abando station

Next to the Renfe station is another station operated by FEVE (Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha). FEVE operated narrow gauge railways from Bilbao along the coast to the west. Since 2013 it is part of Renfe.
The station is called Estación de Bilbao-Concordia and it is built in 1902

Inside the Concordia station
I'm back to Abando station, here is a Renfe Class 252 locomotive hauling an Intercity train from Vigo.
Aliva Picasso was a brand for trains operating between Malaga and Bilbao
This service is between Bilbao and Vigo which takes 11h 16min. The route is following closely to Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, thus this service is sometimes called "Arco Camino de Santiago". The train goes through Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada and Ourense.
There are only two coaches, RENFE A9t-2000 (1st class) and  B10t-2200 (2nd class). Coaches were built in the 80's as part of Renfe 2000 series, and they are capable to reach speed of 200km/h

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